Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Zimbabwe News Update: South Africa Pledged to Stand by Harare; ZEC Ready for Elections; Sanctions Worse Form of Violence

SA pledges to stand by Harare

Herald Reporter

THE South African government has pledged to block any further attempts to have Zimbabwe on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council.

South Africa was last week elected a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

This is the second time South Africa has been elected to the organ after serving the first term in 2007/08.

Media reports from Pretoria yesterday quoted International Relations Department director-general Mr Ayanda Ntsaluba as having told the National Press Club that South Africa would block any sanctions moves on Zimbabwe.

In 2008, South Africa opposed a US and British attempt to impose Security Council sanctions.

Said Mr Ntsaluba: "We must be able to distinguish between issues of human rights violations, bad governance and issues that pose threats to international peace and security.

"All three are different and then should not be conflated.

"The UN Security Council wanted to vote to introduce Zimbabwe as an issue on its agenda in 2008. South Africa will still vote ‘no’ on this.""

Mr Ntsaluba said South Africa continues to oppose "mandate creep", or illegitimately expanding the Security Council’s role.

"Issues that pose threats to global peace and security legitimately belong on the agenda of the UN Security Council.

"Issues of human rights violations belong with the UN Human Rights Council. Issues of bad governance should be dealt with as such," he said.

South Africa, Libya and Vietnam backed permanent members Russia and China in blocking the sanctions move in 2008.

Zim, Zambia honoured

Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE and Zambia have been honoured by Nepad for successfully implementing the Chirundu One-Stop Border Post concept.

Regional Integration and International Co-operation Minister Priscilla Misihai-rabwi-Mushonga received the award on the Government’s behalf in South Africa recently.

Zimbabwe received the Nepad Transport and Infrastructure Project of Excellence Award for Transport and Trade Facilitation.

According to the citation, Zimbabwe and Zambia were honoured for: "Innovation and trade facilitation for the successful implementation of the Chirundu One-Stop Border Post as an example of promoting the Nepad vision of regional integration and co-operation."

Speaking to journalists in Harare yesterday, Minister Misihairabwi-Mushonga said: "Nepad this year decided that the project that deserved the award was the Chirundu One-Stop Border Post as one of the best projects that indicated good innovation, trade facilitation and a good example of regional integration."

She said Zimbabwe was looking forward to implementing similar projects with the governments of South Africa and Mozambique.

"We are currently in discussions with South Africa and Mozambique to do exactly as we have done in Chirundu," she said.

President Mugabe and his Zambian counterpart President Rupiah Banda officially opened the one-stop border post last year.

Cotton farmers cry foul

By Gamuchirai Masiyiwa in Muzarabani

Cotton farmers in Muzarabani are fed up with “raw deals” they receive from contractors and have called on Government to break the monopoly on essential farming inputs sales and to make sure they are available on the open market.

This emerged during a meeting organised by the Agricultural Marketing Authority in Muzarabani last week.

“Fertiliser, cotton seed and chemicals should not be monopolised. AMA must meet relevant authorities and make sure that inputs are readily available,” said cotton farmer Mr Hamu Kamusengezi.

Mr Kamusengezi called for a Government subsidy for cotton as was the case with maize. Mrs Vongai Maradza said producer prices should be announced early to enable farmers time to plan their activities.

“Companies that buy cotton should also pay prices that satisfy the farmers, unlike the situation we had last season where we had to sell it for only 30 cents (per kg),” said Mrs Maradza.

Mr Brian Kamutema called on AMA to ensure companies do not attach their property in the event of drought.

AMA director of production and operations Mr Maxwell Chikanda said they wanted farmers to access inputs easily and get a fair price for their produce.

“AMA will act as a middleman between farmers and cotton buyers and we will also approach companies and invite them to invest in the cotton industry,” said Mr Chikanda.

AMA chief executive officer Mr Rockie Mutenha told the farmers that the authority would protect them from companies that armtwist them to sell their produce.

Mr Mutenha said contracting companies would use contracts that showed what the purchase price for the commodity would be.

Sanctions worst form of violence: MP

Herald Reporter

REDCLIFF House of Assembly Member Cde Isheunesu Muza (Zanu-PF) has described the illegal Western economic sanctions as the worst form of violence a nation can suffer.

Cde Muza said this while contributing to a motion on the speech delivered by President Mugabe while opening the Third Session of the Seventh Parliament in June.

"The worst form of violence is imposing sanctions against humanity. There is nowhere in the world you can come up with any form of violence that is worse than sanctions.

"Sanctions were actually advocated by the other side of the House (the MDC) mainly for regime change and to get into power through the backdoor," he said.

Cde Muza said it was imperative for every party in the inclusive Government to publicly denounce the illegal sanctions.

"Let us unite and call for the removal of sanctions to show that we mean what we say when we say we do not want violence," Cde Muza said.

Mberengwa East legislator Cde Makhosini Hlongwane (Zanu-PF) said the three parties to the GPA had acknowledged their involvement in violence that rocked some parts of the country in past elections.

"It does not help our country seeing that we are in a national healing programme to be in a denial mode and propagandise the issue of violence.

"There is no need to arrogate the violence on one party.

"The three principals have acknowledged that violence has been a characteristic of our politics," he said.

Cde Hlongwane said this while denying assertions by some MDC-T legislators that Zanu PF was responsible for the violence.

Insiza legislator Mr Siyabonga Ncube (MDC) said it was important for Zimbabwe to debate pertinent issues if the country was to develop.

"If this behaviour continues like this, we are not building Zimbabwe.

"We need irrigation in our wards, we need dams and those are the kinds of debates that we need," he said.

ZEC ready for elections

Herald Reporters

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it is ready to conduct national elections and only needs the requisite proclamation from President Mugabe in his capacity as Head of State and Government.

Observers have also said conditions are conducive for the holding of elections.

President Mugabe last week indicated that a referendum for a new constitution will be held in the first quarter of next year while elections would follow by mid-next year.

In an interview on Monday, acting Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Mrs Joyce Kazembe said ZEC would have no problems conducting the polls.

"Our mandate is to implement Presidential proclamations as and when they are made. If a proclamation is made, we implement it," she said.

Mrs Kazembe refused to discuss details concerning resources needed to conduct national elections saying that would not matter because ZEC would be bound to implement any Presidential proclamation.

Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede could not be reached for comment yesterday on the status of the voters’ roll, but officials in his office said everything was in place.

"We cannot discuss matters of the voters’ roll in the media. But I can assure you that we are prepared for any elections," an official who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

Political analyst Dr Maxwell Hove said elections should be held next year as prescribed in the Global Political Agreement signed by Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations.

MDC-T has been trying to scupper the holding of the polls and has been backed by Western-funded NGOs who claim the environment is not conducive.

Said Dr Hove: "The GPA’s legal life and timetable expires in February next year. This means that in any case thereafter, elections should be held.

"We cannot continue with this thing called the inclusive Government forever and the only exit strategy is to go for elections soon after the expiry of its legal lifespan."

He slammed attempts to shelve the elections.

"All the MDC-T’s activities in the constitution-making process are a strategy to lengthen the life of the inclusive Govern-ment.

"Some parties are calling for a negotiated constitution, but this is just a ploy to delay the elections and Zimbabweans cannot stomach such politicking," he said.

Zimbabwe Revolutionary Volunteers’ Front chairman Mr Godwine Mureriwa said President Mugabe should not extend the life of the inclusive Government because of the "deceitful" nature of his colleagues in Government.

"The inclusive Government was a litmus test for the MDC formations to prove their leadership qualities. It, however, appeared that the MDC formations are not homegrown political parties as they continue to pledge their allegiance to Western countries.

"MDC-T leader Mr (Morgan) Tsvangirai’s recent attempt to rope the West into Zimbabwe’s affairs showed his party is controlled from somewhere outside Zimbabwe.

"How could he export internal issues like redeployment of ambassadors to the other countries, especially those that are hostile to Zimbabwe?"

Mr Mureriwa said no one could hide behind claims that the political climate is not suitable for elections.

"The NGOs and parties that are claiming there is terror might actually be the ones sponsoring it so that they can bring about postponement of elections while demonising Zanu-PF at the same time," he said.

Yesterday, churches pledged to spearhead national healing ahead of the elections.

In an interview in Harare yesterday, Nations of Christ Worldwide chairman Bishop Joshua Chiweda said: "We should learn to live in one spirit for we breathe the same air thus we have the same mother and father.

"God wants us to come and reason together to build this our beautiful nation. We are all Zimbabweans and we should look at where we differ so as to bridge the gap.

"The West brought the idea of different parties but as a united nation we should not adhere to that. Just like the body which has got different parts which co-ordinate for it to work, so will Zimbabweans."

Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe would need US$200 million to hold elections.

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